I realize it’s been 2 months since the Tinker Bell Half Marathon but what can I say, better late than never? I always intend to do these incredible, inspiring, reflective, life-changing race recaps but the task becomes so daunting that I put it off and never get to it. Hence, nothing gets done in my life. So, in an effort to do things I say I’m going to do, I’m going to go ahead and write my race recap anyway because you know what, I had a great time and I’d like to share.
As is often the case, the race was not without its hiccups and challenges. The hectic holiday season (especially hectic this year) made training rather difficult and because I thought I was going to run/walk with my Mom and not worry about a PR, I wasn’t too concerned about a strict training regimen. It was only a couple of weeks before the race that my Mom decided she wasn’t going to be able to run with me. *Gulp*. Guess I should have trained harder, since now it looked like I was going to run with my fast fiance and our rather fast friend Chris, who was taking my mom’s place.
Sometime around the new year I realized another potential road block to Neverland. It was flu season. So far I had escaped unscathed, as had my fiance; but we got our hopes up too soon. Right after New Year’s Brad went down in battle. The flu got him good. He was out of commission for a solid 3 weeks. I grew paranoid about so many things.
A) His health and well-being. I became concerned his illness was turning into pneumonia and stubborn man that he was, he refused to go the doctor.
B) My own health and well-being. I mean, I can’t NOT kiss the guy for three weeks!
C) The race. Whose idea was it to schedule a half marathon during flu season. Curses!
About a week before the race, it happened. I started to feel it. The tickle in the back of your throat and the general ooginess that lets you know you’re being preyed upon by an unwanted bug. I’ve never fought off a cold so hard. Never drank so much water and OJ. Never took so many vitamins. Never slept so much. I don’t know if it was the copious amounts of echinacea and vitamin C or rather my strong will to race, but something got me through. I got sick, but never full blown. I was bad for about a day and half and started to feel better about 3 days before the race. Still, my immune system was obviously compromised and I had a half marathon to run. How I would reconcile those two things, I had no idea.
Chris, Brad, and I drove down to the Health & Fitness Expo the day before the race to pick up our bibs. Brad came with us armed with an ample dose of magical thinking, hoping there was a way he could still run. That pipe dream was soon dashed. Poor baby was still so sick, and obviously really frustrated that he was completely out of commission. Come on people, you know those runDisney races aren’t cheap. When you pay for that, you want to run it. As we left the Expo he admitted defeat. He wouldn’t run.
I turned to Chris and realized, it’s just him and me now, and gosh darnit, we WERE going to run tomorrow and we were going to have fun!
I had made reservations to stay at a hotel that night since the race started at 5:00 am. Just too difficult to drive down from Venice that early in the morning. Suddenly it dawned on me. A joyous long weekend of running in Disneyland with my mother and fiance had devolved into a night in the Travelodge with this guy:
The room smelled like pine sol and cigarettes and Chris had to sleep on a roll-away that barely fit in the room. What can I say? The universe is unpredictable. The important thing is, this makes a pretty good story now, and the MOST important thing is, we had a great time.
Got my running costume all ready the night before. Ok, so it’s not the most original costume choice in the world for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. I was sick! I had other things on my mind!
On the shuttle to the start line. SO early.
At this point Chris became aware that he was pretty much the only dude on the bus. I reminded him it was a “woman focused” event. He found the male/female ratio intriguing to say the least. (I love the look on the girl’s face right behind him, to the right. Classic)
At the starting line!
A sea of runners. Always majorly impressed by the turnout at runDisney events!
Getting some encouragement from Minnie and Daisy.
I LOVE all of the signs that the chEAR squad and spectators hold up along the course. This one had to be my favorite!
After this we were off and running. I’d never run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon course before and it was significantly different than the Disneyland Half. I had to admit, jury was still out on which I preferred. In the Tinker Bell Half you spent the first mile running up Disneyland Drive and then around Ball Rd and back down Harbor. You ran a solid mile and half before you even made it into the first park. I do think there’s a benefit to that because it delays gratification a little bit and builds up the excitement for running in the parks. It also made me feel like I was in the parks longer before we headed out onto the streets of Anaheim. Getting that big hill on Ball Rd out of the way in the beginning when we were running on excitement and adrenaline was also a major plus. In the Disneyland Half you hit that hill just as you’re leaving the parks, which is a downer unto itself. To be greeted by a huge hill as you’re leaving? A challenge to say the least.
When we turned into the resort, we ran into a mysterious tunnel.
I tell ya what, this place never ceases to surprise me. I know those parks backward and forward, and I had no idea this tunnel existed. I have to admit, it was a little bit creepy; especially since it was still totally dark out. Ominous!
After that we finally ran into Disney California Adventure. The first thing we did was run through Paradise Pier. They had the lights and fountains going for World of Color and it was an inspiring sight. A perfect kickoff to this race. The sun STILL hadn’t come up so the fountains and lights looked gorgeous.
Since I was feeling a bit ooky from my cold, I had decided that I wasn’t going to push myself in any way on this run. The goal was to have fun and to finish. That being the case, this was the perfect race to stop and take pictures! Each time we stopped to take a picture with a character Chris basically made it sound like I was subjecting him to torture, but I knew he secretly loved it. How could you not?
With Mary Poppins and Burt. Chris is a penguin.
Stealing a pic with the Peter Pan characters. Even I could admit the line for this gang was ridiculously long, so we just sneaked in the back and slyly pointed in their direction.
Me and Miss Bell
Love this one! Two of my faves. Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. And here you can get a shot of Chris’ EVIL compression socks. Aren’t those rad? Meanwhile I look like a doofus in my 3/4 pants and black compression socks. I don’t care though. Gotta have my compression!
This had to be around mile 3 or 4 and yes, it’s STILL dark out
Running through the castle!
Disney custodial is all about the runDisney. And we THANK YOU Disney custodial!
We made our way through the rest of DCA and Disneyland and I have to say, it was more fun than the Disneyland Half course through the parks. I don’t know if it was that first mile and half we burned before we even got there, but it really felt like we were in the parks for so much longer than the Dland Half. We approached mile 6 as we finally left Disneyland!
Then we were off on the streets of Anaheim. At this point Chris took off ahead of me. He was training for the LA Marathon and wanted to keep his pace up. I was still icky and just wanted to finish. I struggled at certain points along the rest of the course so I decided to employ the run/walk/run method to make sure I reserved enough energy to make it to the finish line. I have to tell you, that was the first time I’d ever officially run a sizable distance doing run/walk/run and I felt awesome! I couldn’t believe how good my time was considering I was under the weather. It’s basically magic. I don’t know if I’ll do it all the time, but I will say that when I finally do get around to running the Walt Disney World Marathon, I’m calling Jeff Galloway.
Let’s talk briefly about the course. I’m really split on my opinion of the Tinker Bell course vs. the Disneyland Half. There are pros and cons to both so in the end they probably come out evenly matched. The pros of the Tinker Bell half were that it was definitely more scenic. You ran through some rather charming residential neighborhoods and a really nice shopping area of Anaheim that I didn’t even know existed. On the Disneyland Half you spent a ton of time on the big, I’m sorry to say ugly, boulevards of Anaheim. The major pro of the Disneyland Half however was that you got to run through Angel Stadium. That was one of my absolute favorite things about that race, even though it’s where I bit the dust last year. It’s hard to leave behind the energy of the parks, but getting to run through a crowded cheering baseball stadium at mile 9 and see everyone’s faces on the Jumbotron gave all of us runners the exact burst of energy needed to finish the race. If the Tinker Bell course ran through the stadium, it would be better hands down. HOWEVER, I’m glad it doesn’t. I’m glad that the Disneyland Half Marathon course gets to distinguish itself by having that treat.
Getting close to the finish! Unfortunately by way of that creepy tunnel.
One more mile!
Both feet off the ground!
At the finish line with Minnie. Don’t you think this should be an ad for runDisney?? I think so 🙂
I was so excited to get my thermal blanket. You just don’t feel like a distance runner until you get an astronaut blanket.
I really couldn’t believe how fantastic I felt finishing this race. Sometimes it pays to give yourself a break, do what you can, and re-calibrate your goals to what you can actually accomplish. If I hadn’t gone easy on myself for being sick and insisted on pushing to meet my average pace for a half marathon, I would have made myself seriously ill, and very likely wouldn’t have even finished. I cut myself some slack and the running Gods rewarded me with a beautiful new medal to add to my collection.
I don’t even remember my final chip time or my splits and I’m not even going to look them up because I’m not worried about it. Sometimes it’s ok just to run.
After the race I met up with Chris who also had a really great run. First thing on our minds? Breakfast! We ate at Catal in Downtown Disney. I hadn’t eaten there in years and I must say, their brunch was amazing! I had the smoked salmon hash.
Chris had shrimp grits, southern boy that he is.
After that we headed home. Unfortunately no time for fun in the parks this trip. With a sick fiance at home and my own immune system pushed to the max, what we needed was sleep.
Thanks to runDisney for another great event! My bank account however has quite a beef with you as I think I’m now addicted to another race. BUT, the price of admission is worth it to have so much fun while staying healthy.
Did you run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon this year? How did you do?